Recently, S and I were invited to attend a “Meet the Founder” dinner at Firehouse Subs, a fast-casual sandwich chain that started in Jacksonville, Florida and has (finally) made its way across the country to California! S and I are actually quite familiar with Firehouse Subs already – there was a store close to Duke’s campus, and we would often eat there when we were tired of on-campus dining options back in college. After moving to California, we’d occasionally talk about the food that we missed from North Carolina, and Firehouse always comes up. So imagine my excitement when I found out that there is now a store in San Diego! We eagerly made our way to Point Loma, where it was located, for the dinner with Firehouse’s founder, Robin Sorensen. I’m really excited to write about this dinner, and there is a giveaway at the end of this post!
Upon arrival, we were first introduced to the Coca-Cola Freestyle Fountain, which allows for more than 120 flavor combinations. The same “freestyle fountain” is also used at Five Guys (Costa Verde plaza location), so I was familiar with it. It’s pretty neat – you select your base drink – Coke, Sprite, whatever, and then you can add different flavored syrups to make your customized fountain soda.
Firehouse Subs, however, is unique in that they partnered with Coca-Cola to feature their very own Cherry Lime-ade drink in these fountains. I believe it was an exclusive drink available on these freestyle fountains, only at Firehouse. S had the “light” Cherry Lime-ade (less sugar than the normal version), and I had a sweet tea. Oh man, I’ve missed Southern sweet tea. We enjoyed both of our drinks; I’ve had the Cherry Lime-ade back in NC, but I didn’t realize that it was unique to Firehouse!
One of the things that I remember really enjoying at Firehouse is all of their hot sauces.
On our table was their Captain Soresen’s datil pepper hot sauce. I LOVED the fire hydrant bottle!
Mr. Robin Sorensen talked us through Firehouse Subs’ mission statements: hearty and flavorful food, heartfelt service, and public safety. I really enjoyed his anecdotes about growing up in Jacksonville, being a fireman, starting the business with his brother, and seeing the restaurant flourish and grow into something he said he’d never have imagined when it all started.
And of course, we got to sample some delicious subs, too!
The Hook & Ladder was one of my favorite sandwiches, and I was really happy to be eating it again. As Robin mentioned throughout his talk, Firehouse really focuses on using quality ingredients, and sticking to the same supplier throughout the years. To find the very best ingredients for their sandwiches, Robin says that they test products from all over the country, without knowing the prices, to decide which one tastes the best – and then they’ll deal with the pricing later. The Smithfield honey ham that’s in this sandwich is an example of an expensive but really tasty ingredient. I just really love the flavors of this sandwich – sweetness from the honey ham, smokiness from the turkey breast, salty and savory from the cheese. “Fully-involved” is a firemen’s term, but here it means served with mayonnaise, mustard, lettuce, tomato, onion, and a dill spear on the side. Even the condiments here are high quality – the mayo is made with “double eggs” (read: probably more unhealthy, but oh so delicious), and the mustard is a New York deli mustard.